At long last, there was a full day of sunshine – as full, that is, as was possible at this time of year, when the sun sank down behind the ridge at 3 o’clock. That was a noticeable advance on a few weeks ago, however, and Algy knew that every day now would be longer than the last… even when the sun didn’t shine! He found himself a perch in a young pine tree, and although the wind was bitterly cold, he sang a sunny song, as the other birds were doing, before the sun vanished behind the hill once again. Algy was fascinated to see that the notes of his song were coloured bright green and purple as they drifted away on the wind…

Algy wishes you all a happy weekend, and hopes that you will find a moment or two to sing a sunny song, even if the wind feels bitterly cold 🙂

Algy slept for a long, long time after the excitement of his Magical Midwinter Star party, and when he awoke, it was January. Rubbing his eyes sleepily he flew up to a perch in a pine tree, to inspect the brave new world, but the world had gone. He rubbed his eyes again, but still there was nothing there… nothing but dense, dark Scotch mist… It was January indeed…

Although the forest was fascinating, it was undoubtedly a strange and slightly unnerving environment. Old, storm-felled trees lay higgledy-piggledy across unpleasantly oily black bogs, where bright green mosses thrived, almost glowing in the low light. Beneath the upturned roots were dark caverns which Algy dared not explore, and which the patches of sunlight that filtered through from the forest canopy could not illuminate.

Algy could see that not only did the fallen trees host the growth of many smaller plants which took root in their bark, but many of them lived on, despite being uprooted, putting out new branches which stretched upwards towards the sky. Sometimes a brand new sapling of a different tree sprang forth from a hollow in the trunk of a fallen pine or larch. And high above it all towered the trees that were still standing, their lower branches crowded and bare except around the clearings where others had fallen, but their tops crowned with masses of bright green needles.

Algy gazed at the scene and marvelled… and decided that perhaps it was time to return to his home by the ocean, where everything was fresh and open and bright… 

There was an incredible tangle of bare branches at the lower levels in the forest, and it was quite impossible to fly through them. Even birds much smaller than Algy had to hop from twig to twig if they wanted to make their way through the dense trees. But it was calm and peaceful, and when the sun managed to filter through to the forest floor is was positively pleasant. Algy relaxed on his deep cushion of moss, dozing on and off…

Algy Sings Puirt-à-Beul to a Fallen Pine

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Algy was in high spirits on this beautiful afternoon but he felt sad when he saw that a whole row of large Scots Pine trees, which had lined the edge of the beach leading to the old castle, had been uprooted by last winter’s storms. So he settled on one of the toppled branches, and sang puirt-à-beul (mouth music) at the top of his voice, to try to comfort the fallen tree.

Unfortunately – or perhaps fortunately – Algy made no recording of his singing, but other, much better singers have recorded their puirt-à-beul. Try listening to Catherine-Ann MacPhee from the island of Barra, across the water from Algy’s home – she sings puirt-à-beul in just the way that Algy would like to – or to Mary Ann Kennedy, who lives in Algy’s area of the West Highlands of Scotland.

Algy Sings Puirt-à-Beul to a Fallen Pine

image

Algy was in high spirits on this beautiful afternoon but he felt sad when he saw that a whole row of large Scots Pine trees, which had lined the edge of the beach leading to the old castle, had been uprooted by last winter’s storms. So he settled on one of the toppled branches, and sang puirt-à-beul (mouth music) at the top of his voice, to try to comfort the fallen tree.

Unfortunately – or perhaps fortunately – Algy made no recording of his singing, but other, much better singers have recorded their puirt-à-beul. Try listening to Catherine-Ann MacPhee from the island of Barra, across the water from Algy’s home – she sings puirt-à-beul in just the way that Algy would like to – or to Mary Ann Kennedy, who lives in Algy’s area of the West Highlands of Scotland.